Ambrose Bierce

Novelist, Author

1842 – 1914


Who was Ambrose Bierce?

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. He wrote the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and compiled a satirical lexicon The Devil's Dictionary. His vehemence as a critic, his motto "Nothing matters", and the sardonic view of human nature that informed his work, all earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce".

Despite his reputation as a searing critic, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including poet George Sterling and fiction writer W. C. Morrow. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. His style often embraces an abrupt beginning, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, impossible events and the theme of war.

In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. While traveling with rebel troops, he disappeared without a trace.

Famous Quotes:

  • An inventor is a person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization.
  • Acquaintance. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.
  • Patience. A minor form of despair disguised as a virtue.
  • Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.
  • Alien. An American sovereign in his probationary state.
  • Saint. A dead sinner revised and edited.
  • Life. A spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay.
  • Trial. A formal inquiry designed to prove and put upon record the blameless characters of judges, advocates and jurors.
  • Success is the one unpardonable sin against one's fellows.
  • Impiety. Your irreverence toward my deity.

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Jun 24, 1842
Meigs County
Also known as
  • Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce
  • Bitter Bierce
  • Atheism
  • United States of America
Lived in
  • Ohio
  • San Francisco
Dec 1, 1914

on July 23, 2013


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